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Alien honeybees increase pollination risks for range-restricted plants

Norfolk, Olivia; Gilbert, Francis; Eichhorn, Markus P.


Olivia Norfolk

Markus P. Eichhorn


Aim:Range-restricted species are of high conservation concern and the way in which they interact with more widespread species has implications for their persistence. Here we determine how the specialisation of mutualistic interactions varies with respect to the geographic range size of plants and pollinators and assess how they respond to the introduction of the alien honeybee. We also compare network characteristics (connectance, specialisation, nestedness) between an invaded low mountain and non-invaded high mountain network.
Location:St Katherine Protectorate, South Sinai, Egypt.

Methods: We quantified bee-plant interactions in 42 plots between April-July 2013 and created visitation networks for the low mountains (beehives present) and the high mountains (beehives absent). We then compared visitation network metrics between range-restricted, regionally-distributed and widespread plants and pollinators and assessed topological differences between the low and high mountain networks.
Results: Range-restricted bees were involved in a significantly higher number of total interactions than regional and widespread native bees, but showed no evidence of increased generalisation. In contrast, range-restricted plants were involved in fewer interactions and exhibited significantly higher specialisation and a high dependency on range-restricted pollinators. The introduced honeybee acted as a super-generalist and was associated with an increase in network-level generalisation and nestedness. Honeybees exhibited high levels of resource overlap with range-restricted bees and made few visits to range-restricted plant species.
Main conclusions: Range-restricted plants are more specialised in their interactions than range-restricted pollinators, suggesting that the forces shaping the structure of interaction network can vary between partners. Alien honeybees made few visits to range-restricted plants, but exhibited disproportionately high levels of floral competition with range-restricted bees. If high levels of competition lead to population declines then specialised range-restricted plants will be at higher risk of pollen deficits than more widespread species.


Norfolk, O., Gilbert, F., & Eichhorn, M. P. (2018). Alien honeybees increase pollination risks for range-restricted plants. Diversity and Distributions, 24(5),

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 22, 2017
Online Publication Date Jan 28, 2018
Publication Date Apr 15, 2018
Deposit Date Jan 29, 2018
Publicly Available Date Jan 29, 2019
Journal Diversity and Distributions
Print ISSN 1366-9516
Electronic ISSN 1472-4642
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 24
Issue 5
Keywords Pollination; Mutualism; Endemism; Range size; Honeybee; Invasive
Public URL
Publisher URL
Copyright Statement Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://eprints.nottingh.../end_user_agreement.pdf
Additional Information This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Norfolk O, Gilbert F, Eichhorn MP. Alien honeybees increase pollination risks for range-restricted plants. Divers Distrib. 2018;00:1–9., which has been published in final form athttp://onlinelibrary.wi...1111/ddi.12715/abstract . This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.


Norfolk_et_al_2018.pdf (906 Kb)

Copyright Statement
Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address:

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